Arizona lawsuits likely to follow Trump’s border wall
PHOENIX — President Donald Trump has promised to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and that likely will trigger lawsuits from property owners in Arizona.
The federal government will need to buy up land for the wall and KTAR legal expert Monica Lindstrom said if the owners aren’t willing to make a deal, the government can take the private property under eminent domain as long as the government offers fair market value.
“The government can always take property under the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution,” Lindstrom said.
“As long as they give just compensation, fair market value to the owner and it’s for public use. The government will give notice to the owner that the property is intended to be taken under eminent domain.
“If the owner doesn’t like that, then they can file a lawsuit. One of the arguments the property owner could bring up is that the reason the government is trying to take the property is that it’s not for public use. Public use has a very broad definition.
“Property owners need to be aware that the Supreme Court and other courts across the nation have typically upheld the governments definition of public use.”
Arizona’s 362-mile border with Mexico presents several unique challenges to constructing a wall.
It is a collection of private property, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and the Tohono O’Odham Nation, in addition to areas of rugged terrain.
The Tohono O’Odham Nation has already spoken publicly against the wall.